Facebook has a new plan for its platform. The social media titan wants to continue to provide a means for members to get the news. Facebook long served as a platform for news reports and releases. Unfortunately, the news reports circulating on Facebook didn’t always rank as credible. The social networking site wants to institute some critical changes. The goal here involves making Facebook a venue for “trusted news” only.
Facebook took a lot of flack, ironically, in the press for allowing inaccurate news to flourish on the site. Politicians also criticized Facebook for inaccuracies reported as news throughout the platform. And it is no longer secret foreign influence campaigns use Facebook as a way to interfere in U.S. domestic politics.
To fault Facebook seemed a bit unfair. The company’s original mission involved acting solely as a social media platform. The company wasn’t set up with an editorial board or guardians to figure out what is real or fake news.
Eventually, pressure mounted on Facebook to take action. The company is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Some of that money should go towards quality control related to news and information. Facebook has billions of members. Anything published on the platform has the potential to go viral. People absorb news, accurate or not, through what they see and hear on social media. Facebook couldn’t avoid accountability for what turns up on its platform for much longer.
One idea Facebook’s management latched onto involves paying for publishing rights. Specifically, Facebook wants to pay established and credible news sources to syndicate reports through its platform. If published news from the Wall Street Journal appears in Facebook feeds, Facebook can say it provides access to credible news. In short, Facebook can say, “Consider the source” when people ask about the legitimacy of news on the platform.
No one suggests Facebook won’t take action to address any false news sources on the site. Facebook’s monitors have consistently deactivated accounts of entities up to malicious activities. Unfortunately, new ones arrive on the platform all the time. Hopefully, they’ll be joined by credible sources soon.